Auction insights can help you gain insights into your competitors. This information can be used in several different ways:
Get an overall idea of competitor coverage
The auction insights will show you your impression share versus your competitors. You can then see how often each of you appear above each other in the search results as well as how often everyone appears in the top or absolute top positions.
Know whose offers you should be watching closely
Some competitors are more active than others. By looking at who is most commonly in the top positions, and often sets any anchor points for offers, you know who you should be spending time monitoring versus other’s that you might not watch quite as closely.
Determine your ad strategy
You have two types of competitors:
- Actual competitors: those who offer similar products and services as you do
- Impression competitors: those who appear on the same search pages, but don’t directly compete in product offerings
By examining this data, you can determine how to focus your ads on your offers and ensure that users aren’t confused as to the overall offers. Here’s a great article digging into these cases: Use Your Auction Insights Data to Differentiate Your Ads.
Watch Budget Flows
Some competitors have monthly budgets, and near the end of the month, their coverage falls off dramatically. This can inform your team to save some budget for the end of the month to take advantage of less competition and cheaper CPCs at this point in time. Other competitors do quarterly budgets. At the beginning of the quarter, their impression share is often high, and then it starts to tailor off near the end of the quarter. By trending coverage over time, you can see these gaps, so you know when to take advantage of the situation.
The Auction Insights Weakness
There are two problems with the auction insights report that you see inside your account.
Total competitors displayed: The auction insights report often shows 5-10 competitors. For most people, there is a much broader set of competitors. If you only rely on the auction insights data inside of your Google Ads account, you’ll miss some competitive information.
Challenging to see across campaigns: Different campaigns often advertise different products, services, locations, and so forth. It’s difficult in the interface to quickly see competitor information for many campaigns at once. This means that you either have to navigate through many campaigns waiting for the data to load or just look at the account level information, which can be misleading as you might have a strong competitor for one campaign and a different strong competitor for another campaign.
The Data Studio Solution
In Google Data Studio, you can build a report that shows you all your campaigns at once, along with some competitor data. Also, the Data Studio report generally shows many more competitors. For example, in this image, the small circle represents a side-scrolling window. For this company, they can see data on over 1000 competitors if they scroll left to right across all their competitor’s data.
No one wants to do a full detailed analysis of 1000 competitors. By using a heatmap based upon impression share and overlap rate, you can quickly scroll through the competitors to find ones that are only competing against you in a couple of campaigns. This is a much more efficient way of getting competitor information to help dictate your ad strategy.
Unfortunately, the auction insight data within Google Data Studio is incompatible with the time based charts. That means you can’t filter for competitors that have significant overlaps in small timeframes or fall off over a timeframe. If this becomes available in Data Studio, we’ll update the template to include these charts.
The one oddity about the template is that the header column for your data will be blank. As an example, in this report for the header row, we pixilated our competitor names. The very first column is empty (your data might not be the very first column) as that’s where our data is and for some reason in the Google Ads UI, you see ‘You’ in that column. In Data Studio, it’s just a blank header row. If you download the data, that column will be empty in the download as well, so you’ll want to fill in that column with your name before you create any charts, graphs, or pivot tables.
The Free Data Studio Templates
These are quite simple templates that have a lot of information in them. With the “Google Ads Auction Insights Template” you can:
- Choose a timeframe and the entire campaign list or a subset of campaigns
- View an extensive list of competitors
- See each competitor’s impression share
- See each competitor’s overlap rate
- Download a large amount of competitor data
If you want to download the data to graph over time, we’ve made another page in the same report. This is the Google Ads Auction Insights – Weekly Segment page. If you’d rather see daily data, you can edit the sheet and switch weekly for daily. Then you can download and graph the data over time.
Here’s where you can download the report:
If you have never worked with Data Studio before, we recommend you spend 10 minutes watching these two Google Data Studio videos. They will help you set up your Data Studio environment and show you exactly how to apply a template.
We have several more pages of In-Depth Free PPC Reporting Templates that you can use to get a clearer picture of your entire Google Ads and Google Analytics data. You can claim your free Data Studio Reports here.
If you want to learn how we use this data to inform our ad strategy, you can see how we use it here.
We hope you enjoy this new Data Studio Template 🙂